Maybe that goes without saying, but given that a great number of Phillies fans half-jokingly — at least I hope it was half-jokingly — proposed a silly Joe Blanton-for-Colby Rasums trade after hearing about Adam Wainwright’s injury yesterday, it’s probably wise that Ruben Amaro put the kibosh on such nonsense immediately:
Whether the Phils would deal an accomplished pitcher such as Blanton to a league rival remains to be seen. Asked about Blanton on Wednesday, Amaro said, “He’ll be starting for us in the first week of April.”
Silly trade scenarios aside, there are two ways for competing teas to look at the Adam Wainwright injury: (a) as an opportunity to trade a pitcher on very favorable terms to a team in desperate need of one; or (b) as a cold-water-to-the-face moment in which you realize how just one damn thing going wrong could send your own season skidding sideways.
If you’re inclined to think in that latter, risk-averse fashion, you may be less likely to trade away a starting pitcher to a desperate Cardinals team today than you were yesterday. Because there, but for the grace your pitchers’ elbow ligaments, go you. And won’t you feel dumb if one of your big guns goes down and you don’t have a Joe Blanton-type to help stop the bleeding?
The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.
Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.
While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.